Friday, November 30, 2007

Loeb: Hillary and the "Politics of Disappointment"

Paul Loeb has a new essay that is making the rounds, titled, "Hillary and the Politics of Disappointment"

Loeb acknowledges the more common argument that a Hillary nomination would re-energize a depressed Republican base while demoralizing core Democratic activists, particularly those outraged about the war, which might, in turn, lead to her defeat. But, his real point is that a Hillary nomination, and even a Hillary presidency, might very well split the Democratic Party, as Bill's presidency did. He writes,

We forget that this happened with her husband Bill, because compared to Bush, he’s looking awfully good. Much of Hillary’s support may be nostalgia for when America’s president seemed to engage reality instead of disdaining it. But remember that over the course of Clinton’s presidency, the Democrats lost 6 Senate seats, 46 Congressional seats, and 9 governorships. This political bleeding began when Monica Lewinsky was still an Oregon college senior. Given Hillary’s protracted support of the Iraq war, her embrace of neoconservative rhetoric on Iran, and her coziness with powerful corporate interests, she could create a similar backlash once in office, dividing and depressing the Democratic base and reversing the party’s newfound momentum.

Loab then goes on to offer all kinds of supporting evidence of how this split occurred during the Bill Clinton presidency. He concludes with this,

Because the Republican candidates would bring us more of the same ghastly policies we’ve seen from Bush and Cheney, I’d vote for Hillary if she became the nominee. But I’d do so with a very heavy heart, and a recognition that we’ll have to push her to do the right thing on issue after issue, and won’t always prevail. We still have a chance to select strong alternatives like Edwards (who I’m supporting) or Obama. And with Republican polling numbers in the toilet, this election gives Democrats an opportunity to seriously shift our national course that we may not have again for years. It would be a tragedy if they settled for the candidate most likely to shatter the momentum of this shift when it’s barely begun.
I share much of Loeb's perspective and am wondering what other folks think? I just can't find it in myself to be jazzed at all about Hillary. And I can't seem to find anyone else who is genuinely enthusiastic about her nomination... and I've been searchin'! Most who support her seem simply resigned to her as the standard-bearer.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Say It Loud (I'm Progressive and Proud)

The Center for American Progress has created four tv ads to reclaim the label "progressive" and artciulate what it means today in terms of core values and policy details. Here they are. What do you think? Which one do you like the best? Which one do you find least effective? If you were going to make a spot about your core political values, what would it look/sound like?

And, as always, feel free to take these down and pass 'em around... or, better yet, send the link to this blog to all of your friends!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Art of Mental Warfare: "Warning" (music by Trent Reznor of NIN)

Woah. Here's another intense piece of propaganda...
(Please note that this video includes some tough images of injured and dead soldiers/civilians)

Any thoughts?

Do you know of any other interesting political propaganda pieces?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What is Representative Democracy?

What America needs most... the movement that must take place before any further change can really happen... is a movement for democracy, a movement to reinvigorate American democratic institutions, democratic citizenship and democratic culture. We have lost our way and most of us don't even really know what democracy is, how it works and what our responsibilities are as citizens.

America's democratic institutions - like elections, Congress, etc. - are controlled overwhelmingly by large monied interests, wealthy individuals and corporations. As such, American democracy primarily respond to, reflect and works for, those interests over the interests of everyday citizens. That is uncontroversial and openly apparent. Then, when we do discuss democracy, the terms of the debate are often set by those in power, and are articulated within the context of the market (wealth = free speech). That terrain needs to be changed, the terms of the deabate fundamentally altered.

First, we need to remind ourselves what democracy is all about. To that end, I think that Michael Moore's interview with British Labour leader Tomy Benn in his last film is worth watching and considering.

Check it out.

Spread the word...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Knife Party: "What Barry Says"

This is a amazing piece of propaganda-animation from the folks at Knife Party . It is a few years old, but still well worth a look.

Check it out. Spread the word.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fight the Power: A New Movement for Civil Rights?

In the following article, Jeff Chang (who is the author of a great history of hip-hop, Can't Stop, Won't Stop) asks, "Can hip-hop get past the thug life and back to its radical roots?"

In one of the more hopeful passages:
But now, with the industry on the ropes and the political sphere energized, the transformative power of hip-hop may finally be reemerging. Over the past decade, hip-hop-based community groups have recharged the social justice movement and launched get-out-the-vote campaigns in neighborhoods most candidates and parties wouldn't touch... Even moguls such as Jay-Z, Simmons, and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs have thrown their weight behind voter outreach. And while the results are hard to track case by case, one massive shift is undeniable: In 2004, half of the 4 million new voters under 30 were people of color—a demographic watershed largely overlooked by the media...

He concludes:
Can hip-hop grow into its potential? Can rap sell activism as well as it has $150 sneakers, bottle service, and grill work? Can the very people who've made vast fortunes off selling stupid help reform the industry? "The thing I love about hip-hop," says Chavis, "is that it is evolutionary. It replenishes itself. I get in trouble all the time for saying this, but hip-hop is doing what the civil rights movement was only dreaming about."

What do you think? Can hip hop find its way back to its roots? Can hip-hop be a force for social change, or is this all a lot of talk? What is the real potential here? Can hip hop untangle itself from the damage and distortion done by its relationship with corporations? Or, can it sell sneakers and activism, as Chang asks? Is hip hop doing what the civil rights movement only dreamed of, as Chavis claims?

And, this leads to a bigger question: How effective is culture as a vehicle for social change?

Here is the whole article:
Jeff Chang, "Fight the Power: A New Movement for Civil Rights" (published in Mother Jones)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What if we had seven fingers on each hand?

File this one under the "things that make you go "hhmmmm..." heading:

Credit where credit is due: This post is originally from the folks over at Creative Think. I liked it so much I decided to post it over here...

What if we had seven fingers on each of our hands?

Would we have two finger-opposing thumbs on each hand? If we did, would we have a better "grasp" on things?

We could name our fingers after the days of the week, and if we didn't like something, we could flip that person a "Wednesday."

If you were clumsy, you could say, "Sorry, I'm all weekends."

How would seven fingers on each hand affect sports? How would we catch balls? Would we be more surehanded? Can't you just see some players, after a good play, saying: "Gimme seven, gimme fourteen."

That raises an interesting point: maybe our number system would be Base 14 instead of Base 10.

Would more people be in the jewelry business? What kind of piano music would be written? What would hand tools look like? What would computer keyboards look like?

Question: What if we had seven fingers on each hand? How would that change things? What would be possible? How would your profession or business change? What new things would come into existence?

NAFTA's no laughing matter...

I have this sneaking suspicion we're going to get fooled again...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Musuem of Bad Album Covers

This one has made the rounds, but the Museum of Bad Album Covers is a never-ending source of amusement. Check it out here:

Museum of Bad Album Covers

Here are a few more choice examples (click any cover to enlarge):

I would have loved to hear the pitch for this one. "Guys, I've got the prefect idea for our the album cover..."

I think these space-age dudes made a reappearance in the 90s in Andrew Lloyd Webber's rollerskating musical, "Starlight Express":

uhm. white guy. there it is. the definition.

Look closely at the guy's head... uh... the one on top of his shoulders... it is the worst cut and paste job I've ever seen!

I bet these ladies know how to paaarrrrrr---ttttttttttaayyyyy!

Just another mom "dropping the kids off at the pool"...

All we are saying...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Reggae's Redemptive Songs

This looks like an interesting book, if you like the reggae riddim!

The teaser...
It's not surprising that a Caribbean spiritual philosophy espousing peace, unity and love -- whose charismatic spokesmen delivered its message via a mesmerizing music, fueled by as much ganga as their lungs could hold -- found so many devotees in a mid-70s America that was still recovering from the divisive Vietnam War and race riots. This was also an America that was embracing gentle Easternisms and toking up with more and more frequency.
Even with the belief that Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was something akin to the Second Coming, Jamaica's Rastafarianism and reggae music spoke to millions of Americans, including a white guy from Riverdale, New York, with a trust fund and a camera. Thirty years ago he became one of its most unlikely missionaries.

Here is a good article about the project:
Reggae's Redemptive Songs

And, if you like Jamaican music, you should definitely check this site out. There is lots of great music to be had through this one:
Distinctly Jamaican Sounds

Monday, November 12, 2007


Another in an ongoing series of coolest things ever... this is the Art-o-mat! We just got one here in Lincoln over at The Ross Theater. Put in some money, pull a handle and chinka-zunka-clunka-boom you get an original work of art!

Do you have one of these in your town?

What other kinds of things might we start putting in vintage vending machines? Poetry? Mini-manifestos?

Here's what the Art-o-mat people have to say about what they do...

The inspiration for Art-o-mat® came to artist Clark Whittington while observing a friend who had a Pavlovian reaction to the crinkle of cellophane. When Whittington's friend heard someone opening a snack, he had the uncontrollable urge to have one too.

The year was 1997, the town was Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Whittington was set to have a solo art show at a local cafe, Penny Universitie (now Mary's Of Course Cafe). This is when Whittington used a recently-banned cigarette machine to create the first Art-o=mat. In June 1997, it was installed, along with 12 of his paintings. The machine sold Whittington's black & white photographs for $1.00 each.

This art show was scheduled to be dismantled in July 1997. However, Cynthia Giles (owner of the Penny Universitie) loved the machine and asked that it stay permanently and machine remains unaltered in its original location to this day. At that point, it was clear that involvement of other artists was needed if the project was going to continue. Giles introduced Whittington to a handful of other local artists and Artists in Cellophane was formed.

Artists in Cellophane (A.I.C.), the sponsoring organization of Art*o*mat® is based on the concept of taking art and "repackaging" it to make it part of our daily lives. The mission of A.I.C. is to encourage art consumption by combining the worlds of art and commerce in an innovative form. A.I.C believes that art should be progressive, yet personal and approachable. What better way to do this, than with a heavy cold steel machine?

What to submit some art to an Art-o-mat? Here's how...

Here at Art*o*mat®, submissions from artists are welcome at any time. Since our project is ongoing, we are always interested in new work. We at Artists In Cellophane (A.I.C.) fully respect the rights of artistic freedom and enjoy working with artists of all levels. However, we are strict in adherence to our guidelines as any deviation from the specifications below will cause vending difficulty, logistical problems and incidental expense. Our selections are made based on effort, craftsmanship and originality. However, a key factor in our review process is how the final piece will be viewed in the hands of our buyers.

Once accepted, where your artwork is placed and in what machine is based on the needs of our venues.

Here's how you get started:

Think of what you would like to produce for the project. Try to avoid any mass production process that could lessen the quality of your work. The vending process is only the beginning of your Art*o*Mat® art. Once out of the machine, your Art*o*Mat® work is a reflection of you and your art. Many pieces have been carried around the globe. So, think of approaches that do not convey "a Sunday afternoon at the copy shop".

All submissions require a single vend-ready, non-returnable prototype of your art. Please do not send a prototype that is not fully rendered to the specifications below. All prototypes are inspected for suitability in the project. After inspection, they are included into the AIC permanent archives.

The final size should be 2 1/8" x 3 1/4" x 7/8" (54mm x 82mm x 21mm). Most 2/D artists (painters, printmakers, etc) produce their pieces on wood blocks, while most 3/D artists (sculptors, jewelers, etc.) place their work in our boxes. Watercolor paper or illustration board can easily increase the thickness of standard plywood to 7/8". If you use boxes, you must fill the package so it will be rigid and add some weight.

Once you are ready to begin, please download our Submission Form. If you would prefer to receive samples of our official boxes and blocks, please send a USPS Priority Mail stamp and a clearly written return label to the address below. Specify in your letter that you are requesting samples.

Your name and contact info is required to be clearly displayed on each piece. The most successful Art-o-mat works include support material about the artist. Think of ways to present yourself in the event someone wants to learn about your other artistic ventures. The goal of this project is to create valid, professional relationships between the artist and the patron. Keep in mind that in many cases, the Art-o-mat can be someone's first art purchase. Artists who specifically ask "who bought me" often hear feedback and find out where their work ends up.

Make sure your pieces of art contain NO MAGNETS, BALLOONS OR ITEMS PROCESSED WITH PEANUTS. No exceptions. Please use common sense and do not create work with materials that are potentially hazardous. If applicable, please label on the outside of your piece that it is rated "R" or "Small Parts-Not for Children".

If you use our boxes, please assemble with white glue (not double stick tape as it will release). The final piece should feel solid enough so it will not easily crush. Packing material also adds weight, which helps the vending process. Our boxes are light and need added structure or packing material inside.

Wrap .003 ml acetate around each piece. Use clear "very sticky" tape to affix acetate and make sure the acetate is taut. Please do not use frosted tape or low tack labels that will release. This is important, as it will cause vending problems and incidental expense. All art must be wrapped in acetate.

Make a 2 X 2" square placard to identify your column in the machine. This should be simple and clear. A brief description of your work and your name is a good place to start. Upon request, A.I.C. personnel can create placards if you are unable (or shy).

Print out and sign the official Submission Form (pdf) and include it with your shipment. Submission of art is confirmation that you agree to the terms and conditions stated on this site. Send your prototype to us at:

Artists in Cellophane
5000 Rushland Drive
Winston-Salem NC 27104

LEGAL STUFF: By submitting artwork to us, you represent and warrant to A.I.C. that the artwork you provide to A.I.C. complies with all of the foregoing guidelines, which guidelines may be changed by A.I.C. from time to time. You further represent and warrant that such artwork is of merchantable quality, free from all defects, and suitable for resale to the public via A.I.C.’s Art*o*mat machines. You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless A.I.C. and its successors, assigns, owners, proprietors, directors, employees, volunteers, representatives, Art*o*mat machine hosts and subhosts, agents, and affiliates from and against any and all past, present, and future claims, liabilities, losses, costs, damages, and expenses (including without limitation reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs) arising out: (a) the inaccuracy of the foregoing representation or breach of the foregoing warranty; or (b) the design, production, distribution, sale, or use of the artwork provided by you to A.I.C.

WHAT COMES NEXT: If your prototype is accepted, you will be notified by A.I.C. to begin production. There is a minimum requirement of 50 finished pieces. All work must be delivered to A.I.C. ready to vend and in no need of repair. All shipments of art not to specification will be sent back with an invoice for return shipping. The city and machine where your artwork will be placed is based upon the needs of our venues and is entirely up to A.I.C. and our Hosts. Depending on your work, the needs of our hosts and the time of year, it can sometimes take months to get your work placed in a machine. So, it may take time to see results.

Most vend prices are fixed at $5.00. Artists will receive $2.50 per sale, on consignment (we generally send out artist payments on a quarterly basis). The remaining percentage is split between project support, the host venue and/or donations to charity. Artists are solely responsible for content of artworks and listing of profits on taxes. We suggest that all artists should consider obtaining a "Certificate of Liability" insurance policy.

IF YOU NEED MATERIALS, WE HAVE THEM!: Wood blocks are highly recommended for 2-D work. Most 3-D artists use boxes.

If you have any questions about submitting art, please contact us.

A.I.C. fully understands the energy necessary to produce work for this project. We are very grateful for your participation and will represent each Art-o-mat artist to the best of our abilities.

(guidelines effective as of 1/06/06)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Graphic Resistance 2

This poster was created in 1988 by British artist Paul Peter Piech.

The copy/text on this lino-cut poster reads: “Open your newspaper any day of the week and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government.”—Peter Benenson.

The copy/text on the sardine can reads: “Product of Latin—South and Central America.”

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Does Obama "Matter"?

Hhhhhmmmmmmm... There seems to be some new instability in the Democratic race for the presidency, a shift in energy. Recent polling data indicates there might be some movement in the numbers, with Hillary losing 3-5% over the last week or so. Is this a blip or a trend? Time will tell. But, clearly Obama has been energized and emboldened a bit recently and Edwards continues to level the hardest-hitting criticisms against Clinton. The perception has sunk in that Hillary stumbled in the last debate, denting the air of inevitability that had followed her campaign. And when they tried to regain their footing this past week, the attempt seemed awkward and defensive. Moreover, Bill has been taking an increasingly public role in articulating Hillary's vision and defending her against mounting criticism and I'm not sure this is a winning strategy in the end. With a little blood in the water, a number of new groups have cropped up from the liberal-left side of the political spectrum challenging Hillary's campaign. One such group, Democratic Courage, argues that "Hillary Clinton has repeatedly given in too easily to pressure - and too often decides her policies not on the basis of what's right, but on the basis of what polls and focus groups tell her. As history shows, that's a dangerous road for Democrats and for the country. We believe there are other candidates who would be stronger leaders and have a much better chance of winning in 2008."

But this "disturbance in the force" that is the Clinton Campaign has me thinking again about what exactly is at the heart of Obama's appeal, his rock-star persona. Is there any there there? Of course, Obama has said ad nauseum that he is the candidate of "change," the one to "turn the page." He is relatively young, clearly smart and charismatic, multi-racial, internationally experienced, hip and good-looking. He has painted himself as the first "post-civil rights" black presidential candidate and has stressed unity and common purpose. Admittedly, one thing that has worked to Obama's advantage in the early phases of the campaign has been the fact that he was relatively unknown and thus people have been able to pour into him whatever political hopes and aspirations they possess. The idea of Obama is certainly great...

And still, I wonder - and am asking - what is it about Obama? Does Obama matter and if so, how and why exactly? For many, he remains elusive. How do we find out?

Maybe his recent speeches contain some clues...
"A Challenge for Our Times"
"A Change We Can Believe In"
"Reclaiming the American Dream"

Or, maybe we can learn something about him by looking at the legislation on Iran he recently introduced in Congress.

Or, perhaps his surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live is revealing?

Or, geez, it seems like writers for every major magazine have an opinion about why Obama might matter. Here's what a few of them have to say:

James Traub, "Is (His) Biography (Our) Destiny" (New York Times Magazine)
Obama’s supporters believe that his life story and the angle of vision it affords him hold out the possibility of curing the harm they would say we have done to ourselves through our indifference to the views of others and through the insularity of a president who seems so incurious about the world. There is thus an emblematic force to Obama’s candidacy.

Larissa MacFarquhar, "The Conciliator," (The New Yorker)
Obama’s detachment, his calm, in small venues, is less professorial than medical—like that of a doctor who, by listening to a patient’s story without emotional reaction, reassures the patient that the symptoms are familiar to him. It is also doctorly in the sense that Obama thinks about the body politic as a whole thing. If you are presenting a problem as something that they have perpetrated on us, then whipping up outrage is natural enough; but if you take unity seriously, as Obama does, then outrage does not make sense, any more than it would make sense for a doctor to express outrage that a patient’s kidney is causing pain in his back. There is also, of course, a racial aspect to this. “If you’re a black male, you don’t have to try hard to impress people with your aggression,” Haywood says. “There was a period when black politicians started to be successful, and it was understood that if you wanted to be mainstream you’d better have gray hair. Doug Wilder was an example. David Dinkins. Mayor Bradley in L.A. To be popular with the broader white electorate, you’d better look safe, you’d better not look angry. Now, I don’t think Barack made a conscious decision to come across this way, but it is a happy accident. Some people may have seen his speech at the Democratic Convention, or heard that he rocked the house, and they may be disappointed, but the mainstream is not ready for a fire-breathing black man.” (It seems likely that, consciously or not, Obama has learned from these examples, and knows that the election of a President Obama wouldn’t mean a revolution in race relations, any more than women prime ministers were a sign of flourishing feminism in South Asia. Bigotry has always made exceptions.)

Matthew Rothschild, "Obama's Appeal" (The Progressive)
Unlike any other candidate in the race, Obama electrifies young people, and his audiences are diverse... His last words were: "Let’s go change the world."

Andrew Sullivan, "Goodbye to All That" (The Atlantic Monthly)
Strictly speaking, Obama is at the tail end of the Boomer generation. But he is not of it.

“Partly because my mother, you know, was smack-dab in the middle of the Baby Boom generation,” he told me. “She was only 18 when she had me. So when I think of Baby Boomers, I think of my mother’s generation. And you know, I was too young for the formative period of the ’60s—civil rights, sexual revolution, Vietnam War. Those all sort of passed me by.”

Obama’s mother was, in fact, born only five years earlier than Hillary Clinton. He did not politically come of age during the Vietnam era, and he is simply less afraid of the right wing than Clinton is, because he has emerged on the national stage during a period of conservative decadence and decline. And so, for example, he felt much freer than Clinton to say he was prepared to meet and hold talks with hostile world leaders in his first year in office. He has proposed sweeping middle-class tax cuts and opposed drastic reforms of Social Security, without being tarred as a fiscally reckless liberal. (Of course, such accusations are hard to make after the fiscal performance of today’s “conservatives.”) Even his more conservative positions—like his openness to bombing Pakistan, or his support for merit pay for public-school teachers—do not appear to emerge from a desire or need to credentialize himself with the right. He is among the first Democrats in a generation not to be afraid or ashamed of what they actually believe, which also gives them more freedom to move pragmatically to the right, if necessary. He does not smell, as Clinton does, of political fear.

TIME magazine, "Obama's Red State Appeal"
Political organizing for Democrats in red states like Nebraska can often feel a bit like leading AA meetings. But that hasn't deterred more than 300 Nebraskans from forming a dozen groups for Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign, and they aren't the only ones. On Monday, the Obama campaign announced that over 300 Iowa and New Hampshire Republicans had decided to cross party lines to support Obama. At Obama events in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia, a good 20% of audiences routinely raise their hands when emcees ask for Republicans in the crowd. A "Republicans for Obama" website has 11 state chapters with 146 members. An August University of Iowa even found Obama running third in the state among Republican candidates, behind Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani but ahead of both Fred Thompson and John McCain. And a national Gallup poll this month also found that nearly as many Republicans like Obama — 39% — than the 43% that dislike him, compared with the 78% of Republicans who held an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton.

68 New Hampshire Republicans Back Obama

268 Iowa Republicans Back Obama

So, any thoughts out there about whether or not Obama matters?

Friday, November 02, 2007

MC5 & John Sinclair

MC5 (short for Motor City 5) "kicked out the jams" from their founding in 1964 through their dissolution in 1972. The band came out of Detroit and was known for its energetic live performances and their attachment to left-wing politics. Members of the band - Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith (guitars) Michael Davis (bass), Rob Tyner (vocals), and Dennis Thompson (drums) - were heavily influenced by r&b, blues, Chuck Berry, Dick Dale, the Ventures, what came to be known as garage rock, and the free jazz of Archie Shepp, John Coltrane, Sun Ra and others. Their music is now considered a precursor of punk, heavy metal and hard-edged fusion. According to John Sinclair, who became the band's manager, "When I first saw them, I thought they were incredible. Just totally fucking great. They were trying to extend rock and roll into something that had more space for creativity and improvisation. They called themselves avant-rock at the time." MC5 was heavily influenced by Sinclair's political affiliations as well as the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party (led by revolutionary martyr Fred Hampton).

MC5 crashed onto the scene with their first album, an unheardof live set, titled "Kick Out the Jams." The band gained some noteriety through controversy for the title track's battle cry, "Kick out the jams, motherfuckers!" and John Sinclair's incendiary liner notes. When Detroit Department Store, Hudson's, refused to stock the album, the band took out a full-page ad in the newspaper stating, "Fuck Hudson's!" MC5 played an epic 8 hour set outside the turbulent 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago until club-wielding cops waded into the crowd. By the early-70s, MC5 had fallen out with Sinclair, who himself was now in prison on a marijuana rap, and parted ways as a group in 1972. Over time, their influence has only grown, particularly in the punk and hardrock scenes.

Here is a great clip of MC5 doing "Lookin' at You" live in 1970:

During the 60s and 70s, John Sinclair was a colorful radical left-wing poet, political activist and MC5 manager from Detroit. Early on, Sinclair helped reorganize and publish Fifth Estate, an underground newspaper in the Detroit area that still publishes today. In 1968, Sinclair, along with his wife Leni and Lawrence Plamandon established the White Panther Party. The group, which sprung out of an interview with Black Panther Party founder Huey Newton, was dedicated to "cultural revolution." The group's platform intiailly included, "fighting for a clean planet and the freeing of political prisoners," but later expanded to include "rock 'n roll, dope, sex in the streets and the abolishing of capitalism." In 1968, Fifth Estate published the group's manifesto, which was heavily influenced by the Black Panther's "Ten Point program":

- Full endorsement and support of Black Panther Party's 10-Point Program
- Total assault on the culture by any means necessary
- Free exchange of energy and materials
- Free food, clothes, housing, dope, music, bodies, medical care
- Free access to information media
- Free time and space for all humans
- Free all schools and all structures from corporate rule
- Free all prisoners everywhere
- Free all soldiers at once
- Free the people from their "leaders"

In 1969, Sinclair was sentenced to 9 years in prison for serially breaking Michigan's anti-dope laws. Sinclair and Plamondon were also indicted as co-cospirator in connection with the bombing of a CIA office in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That charge ultimately landed Plamondon in prison, too. The headquarters of the White Panthers in Portland, Oregon, was raided in 1970 after two members of the group were accused of throwing a molotov cocktail at a Selective Service office. In 1971, John Lennon headlined the "Free John Sinclair" concert in Ann Arbor, which was attended by 15,000 people and also included music by Stevie Wonder, Archie Shepp and Phil Ochs, and speeches by Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale Allen Ginsberg, Jonnie Lee Tillmon and Fr. James Groppi. Surprisingly, two days later, Sinclair was released from prison on appeal!,

Here are two rants worth reading by Sinclair:

John Sinclair, "Rock and Roll is a Weapon of Cultural Revolution"
This piece famously begins, "'The duty of the revolutionary is to make the revolution.' The duty of the musician is to make the music. But there is an equation that must not be missed: MUSIC IS REVOLUTION. Rock and roll music is one of the most vital revolutionary forces in the West-it blows people all the way back to their senses and makes them feel good, like they're alive again in the middle of this monstrous funeral parlor of western civilization. And that's what the revolution is all about-we have to establish a situation on this planet where all people can feel good all the time. And we 'I not stop until that situation exists.'"

John Sinclair, "Marijuana Revolution"
In this essay, written from prison, Sinclair argues, "Marijuana makes people aware of alternatives to the machine life of American industrialism — it demonstrates in a very specific term that there are other and more exciting possibilities for life in this day and age than whiskey and football games and ulcers and a lifetime on the assembly line or in the office, and it makes people wonder why this old-time shit is still going on. Instead of deadening people’s consciousness, marijuana brings people back to life and expands their awareness of the world and their own possibilities for life in that world, and it leads them to questions that otherwise wouldn’t have been asked: why are we at war in Indochina? Why is racism so rampant in every area of American life? Why can’t people love each other? Why are our politicians and businessmen and generals such liars and hypocrites? Why is everything so fucked up?"

Here is a short film (4 minutes) on John Sinclair:

Here are two more interesting segments on John Sinclair, for those who might be interested:

Ten for Two - The John Sinclair Benefit (pt. 1)
Ten for Two - The John Sinclair Benefit (pt. 2)